Iranian eggplant dip (Kashk-e bademjan)

keshek betanjan

I had this eggplant dish in Dallas once, made by a Persian friend of my Irish neighbor’s, and loved it;  there are a ton of Persian restaurants in So. California, a handful in Dallas, yet I have not seen a single one in Beirut. In any case, when an Iranian exhibit opened here last year, I was dying to go, get some saffron and check out all the goodies. I could not resist stocking up on glazed tableware, woven tablecloths and candies; I almost got a rug too. 

Kashk is whey extracted from yogurt; it is sold in tub or jars and is creamy with a slightly sour taste; it pairs really well with eggplant. I was in a hurry and prepared this like a baba ghannouj, by smoking the eggplant over the gas flame and mashing it. 

This is Najmieh’s Batmanglij’ recipe from New Food of Life, adapted.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large eggplants, peeled and sliced; slices sprinkled with salt for 30 minutes then rinsed and dried.
  • 3 large onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 Tbsp garlic paste, divided (mash 10 cloves of garlic with some salt in a mortar till pasty)
  • Spices: 1 tsp turmeric, 2 Tbsp mint powder, salt, black pepper (dash)

Garnish for the dish: 1 Tbsp of garlic paste, 1 Tbsp mint powder, 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, 1/2 cup kashk, 1/4 tsp saffron dissolved in 1 Tbsp hot water

1. Fry the eggplant slices in the hot oil, pat dry and set aside; fry the onions and garlic; add the turmeric and mint powder and set aside; transfer the eggplant slices into an ovenproof dish, add layers of onions, garlic, spices and 1/2 cup of water; bake for 20 minutes till tender. 

2. Top with the kashk, the remaining garlic and mint and saffron; bake for 10 minutes longer; serve with bread. 

NOTE: The kashk is sold at Iranian groceries and other ethnic stores; drained yogurt or a good soft feta should be an OK substitute. 

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14 Comments

  1. Posted November 4, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    It must be very tasty! Perfect with freshy baked bread.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. Posted November 4, 2013 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Hello! I just wanted to drop you a line and say how much I appreciate your blog. Your veggie-centric recipes and photos are so inspiring, and I love learning about all the different ingredients, like kashk. Keep up the good work!

  3. Posted November 4, 2013 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Hello, i read your blog from time to time and i own a
    similar one and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam remarks?

    If so how do you stop it, any plugin or anything you can suggest?

    I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any help is very much appreciated.

  4. Posted November 4, 2013 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    This looks lovely! I really enjoy baba ghannouj….will surely give this a go :) I love Lebanese food & your website is very informative and beautiful!

  5. Posted November 5, 2013 at 2:16 am | Permalink

    I adore everything eggplant – what I love about the dishes from the region is that each country offers the same idea but each has a fantastic little twist to their eggplant dish. Lovely!

  6. Posted November 6, 2013 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    What an absolutely marvelous way to eat eggplant Joumana and especially since I am one eggplant crazy gal.

    I must make this soon. Will keep you posted.

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  7. Posted November 7, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Moi je suis très friand d’aubergines surtout préparées ainsi….bisous et douce soirée

  8. Elena
    Posted November 8, 2013 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    This recipe has become traditional in our house and we really adore it.
    You forgot to write that the kashk must be diluted with water to the consistency of a thick sauce.
    And , I do not agree that the kashk can replace with yogurt or feta – unlike them , it has a very unique sharp and savory, “cheesy” and “old” flavor.
    I think, it is better to try to make home-made kashk.

  9. Joumana
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    @Elena: The kashk I bought from the Iranian merchant was already diluted thick and creamy; but thanks for mentioning it, it maybe different from the one sold in the US. The author of the book, Ms. Batmanglij, suggested replacing the kashk with sour cream; whatever!

  10. Elena
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 1:27 am | Permalink

    yes , Joumana – Ms. Batmanglij recommended to replace this component with sour cream , but it’s not the same – I tried it and my dish turned out less interesting in taste.
    I did something very similar to kashk – from home-made cultured and strained yogurt (but with a starter I added lipase enzyme too , which gave to the yogurt this sharp and distinctive flavor).

  11. Joumana
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    @Elena: I admire your thorough research and investigation! wow!

    @Maria: Mrs Batmanglij also mentions walnuts in the topping ingredients; I prefer to keep things simple and did not add them.

  12. Maria
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    One of my favourite dishes ever. I have been eating this in London/Dubai for over 20 years. Just tried it from a new Iranian restaurant and realised they had added walnuts into the blend and it didn’t taste as good. Usually the onions are very well caramelized just as when you make mdardara/moujadara – dark brown, makes all the difference to the taste.

  13. Fatimah
    Posted January 10, 2014 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Salam! nice blog
    Iranians don’t usually bake it. we fry the onions (making them caramalized onions) and garlic (optional), add the eggplant and kashk to that, and mash it with a potato masher. and then you can let it fry/cook for another 10-15 mins. add mint to it as well as the chopped walnuts. you should add the mint after frying the onion and garlic, getting it a little fried, add the chopped walnuts after mashing.

  14. Joumana
    Posted January 11, 2014 at 3:00 am | Permalink

    @Fatimah: Thank you for your input!

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